My face hit the floor, as I was literally brought to my knees, begging and pleading with snot and tears running down my face. I might as well have been kissing his feet, and all to make him reconsider ending our marriage.
The response I received started as an arrogant scoff that accumulated into explosive laughter. He rolled his eyes at me with not an ounce of sympathy or concern and mockingly spit out, “Get up off the floor and stop making a fool of yourself.”
He was correct. I had made a fool of myself. Gladly, I would learn from this mistake, never to repeat it again. Self-respect also means when your ex comes crawling back that you know better than to take them back, especially if the relationship was toxic.
Narcissistic Abusers Tend To Come Back
Toxic people often return to further abuse those who lack self-esteem and self-respect. Toxic people might come crawling back because they need a victim to target for the resulting feeling of power. Selfishness takes years to undo for many set in their ways, and often victims of narcissistic abusers remain in a repetitive cycle. Egotistical predators are charming and know how to get under the skin of others quickly.
Some of us can walk away from love and years of commitment as if it is the easiest thing in the world to do. Maybe it’s due to willpower or because there is another relationship or someone else waiting on the sidelines. Some can appear to be not at all affected by toxic relationships, while others, like my past self, take them extremely hard. Some of us beg, plead and make every effort to stay together. Some of us want to “fix” things. There really is no easy solution when it comes to matters of the heart. Whether you consider it foolish to beg someone to stay with your or view breaking up as giving up, an end to any relationship can feel much like a death.
We Learn About Self-Respect Through Relationships
We grieve over loss in different ways. Either we can choose to find the solution at the bottom of a bottle, jump into a rebound relationship, or find other ways to numb the pain. At the end of the day, self-destruction hurts not only the individual but also their loved ones.
The opposite of self-destruction is self-respect. It seems most of us learn about dignity through the relationships we have with others. The notion of loving yourself is particularly connected to self-respect.
Learning to love yourself is as important as learning to walk away with your head held high. It’s not enough to recite a mantra and claim that you love yourself. Love itself isn’t about repeating keywords. Love is action. Love is a verb. Love is knowing that you can be an adult, discuss things without reacting and have constructive conversations rather than shouting matches.
Healthy Relationships Are Reciprocal
Any relationship, whether personal or professional, must be mutual and a team effort. Self-respect means loving yourself enough not to allow yourself to be taken advantage of, and this means knowing mutual compliance is the center of all healthy relationships.
You might have a hostile family member who treats you poorly, perhaps a sibling who is resentful and always lashes out at you. You might have a partner who refuses to help you with the kids, and you feel you might as well be a single parent. You might have a girlfriend or a boyfriend who wants to break up while you are desperate to make the relationship work. At the end of the day, kissing someone’s feet, begging, pleading, groveling…none of that can change or alter their decision.
Self-respect is about releasing control of others and especially not allowing others to control you. Whether through psychological manipulation or emotional abuse, there are very subtle ways people manipulate. Manipulation is not love. Similarly, allowing someone to crush your self-esteem and sense of worth is not giving you the respect you deserve.
When you love yourself you empower yourself, just as when you love someone else you encourage rather than discourage. You lift up and not tear down. You talk kindly to yourself and refuse to let your mind think worthless thoughts. Don’t tell yourself you don’t deserve love, that you don’t deserve abundance.
Love is empowering and encouraging, and that is the root of self-respect as well as giving respect to others. When you are disrespectful, you do not care what you say or how you say it. When you have no filter, you allow yourself to vomit whatever thoughts come to mind without considering how they might hurt others and how it might make you come across. There is a difference between being direct and being disrespectful. There is a difference between being honest and being rude.
This means if you are disrespectful towards others, you are likely unhappy with yourself. Deep inside you do not love yourself, so you cannot show love towards others. When you do not love yourself, you do not respect yourself and will not be respectful to the people around you. It is a chain reaction that begins or ends with you.
Self-Respect Is Love In Action
Ultimately, you do not have control over how others behave, but you can control how to respond. Most of us have control over how we want to be treated, what we are willing to put up with and how we treat ourselves. Loving yourself is more than just words…it is not a mantra. When someone loves you and when you love yourself, it is action and that action ought to be good. Your actions should come from a supportive and pure place, not tainted by selfish or ulterior motives.
While I am not a religious person, I cannot help but turn to the only written text that has ever, in my personal opinion, described love correctly:
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”
1 Corinthians 13: 4-7
Blogging Collaboration With A Purpose
While I have been busy, I have made time to do once a month collaboration-themed blog posts. I’ll try to post more when I can. For further inspiration on self-respect, please check out these bloggers, their posts will be up sometime today.
- Addison D’Marko: Self Acceptance and Self Love
- Barb Caffrey @ Barb Caffrey’s Blog: Why is Self-Acceptance So Damned Hard?
- Ipuna Black: Self-Love and Acceptance
- Jane Love @ Harmonious Joy: Why You Should Love Yourself
- Joel A. Scott: http://www.joelascott.com/blog/
- Jothish Joseph @ TheJothishJosephBlog: Self Love and Acceptance
- Manal Ahmad a.k.a. iamthatgirl23 @ Sensible Nonsense: Self Love and Acceptance
- Mylene C. Orillo: https://myleneorillo.com/
- Nicolle K @ Stories of a Highly Sensitive Introvert: Self-Love & Acceptance, Self-Esteem & Writing Self-Compassionate Letters
- Sadaf Siddiqi: Self-Love and Acceptance
- Sonyo Estavillo @ ‘Lil Pick Me Up: Self-Respect Means Knowing What Love Is & What Love Is Not
- Tajwar Fatma @ LifeAsWeHaveNeverKnownIt: Self love and acceptance
- Divyang Shah @ I think My way: Self-Love & Acceptance
- Camilla Motte @ Moms on the Go: How To Love Yourself